Dog Breed Info Center(R) DBIC

Whelping and Raising Puppies

Week 4

Five newborn puppies are eating kibble ontop of a white blanket in front of a frog plush toy and a Frosty the Snowman plushy.

Between 3 to 5 weeks, depending on the breed, the puppies are eating soaked kibble. Be sure to introduce the solid food slowly. Give them only a few bites of soaked kibble or up to a teaspoon of gruel the first day and gradually increase the amount. Start slowly offering a little more each day. Do not just give them a bowl full the first day. You have to get their tummies adjusted to the new type of food. Before you introduce food make sure you have wormed the pups the week before so that you do not do both at the same time or you could irritate the stomach and cause diarrhea and irritable bowel.

It is advisable not to start pups on solids too young. There is no formula as to when to start, as the health of the dam and pups and the breed plays a role, but it is best not to start too early. You need to take into account the breed (smaller dogs wean later), the health of the dam, the size of the litter and if the dam's body is holding its own or being dragged down and if the dam has enough milk. Often if you do not start solids by the time the dam feels it is time she will take matters in her own hands and regurgitate food for the pups. This is your cue to start feeding them.

Some recommend adding a little bit of low-fat plain yogurt and a little bit of low-fat cottage cheese for puppies over the age of 6 months and to the dam's diet. If the puppies have worms or are introduced to solid food too quickly it can sometimes bring on diarrhea. Canned pumpkin is known to help treat diarrhea and is often given to lactating dams. Be sure to properly worm your dam and pups. Always ask your vet's advice.

Larger breeds can start food at 3.5 to 4 weeks, but the toy breeds generally do not need solids till 4.5 to 5 weeks (but again, this depends on litter size, and the quality of care the dam is giving the puppies).

Top down view of five newborn puppies eating kibble out of a round silver dish on a white blanket. Close up - Five little puppies are nursing from their mother dog.

They are becoming quite active, and should spend lots of time with the dam. You will notice group playing.

Top down view of a black small puppy that is laying on its back on a blanket. A person is touching the puppy's stomach.

It is good to put them on their backs, in a submissive position, daily. Each pup needs individual attention.... Weekly nail trimming and weighing should continue.

A smiling boy is sitting behind five small puppies.

Assorted noises, like TV, radio, child’s play, etc. should be part of daily routine.

Courtesy of MistyTrails Havanese

Whelping: Close-to-Textbook Case